Kiwiberry is the late summer chart topper

Kiwiberries are the perfect response to a new wave of hype: healthy snacking! Give your fruit section a surprising look with these trendy little berries. From early September, there will be ample supplies and the season runs until late October! Hoogstraten Cooperative handles the sale on a centralised basis.

Ordinary and organic
“Production of this late summer snack food has been expanding year on year. Last year yielded 110 tons, and by now, a score of growers are already producing 130 to 140 tons across the fresh market and industry. The fact that there are different varieties means that we can guarantee the trade good levels of supply from early September until mid-October”, confirms Natalie Snijers of the commercial unit at Hoogstraten Cooperative. Hoogstraten centralises the sale of the ordinary product, exclusively via intermediation (annual and weekly contracts).
BelOrta will shortly have organic kiwiberries available. The default arrangement is in shakers (125 g), but other types of packaging can also be supplied to order. This product is marketed at BelOrta itself.

Uniform grading and brix value
As from this season, the growers are supplying the product loose, and a grading machine takes over, the result being a finer grading process. “What we hope to achieve via this investment at the auction is to send out a strong signal to our growers and the retail side alike that we believe in the future of this fantastic product”, stresses Natalie.
“The trade wants a more homogeneous product. As from this season, we can market uniform batches, in terms of both berry size and brix value. Alongside the two classic grades, 19/23 mm and 24/28 mm, we are technically able to offer customised grading. Ripeness is also measured mechanically, so that all the berries in the shaker are equally ready to eat. The image of the kiwiberry as a healthy snack is now becoming a reality.”

Flexible packaging
Hoogstraten Auction is investing in user- and product-friendly packaging: 12 x 125 g shakers in an attractive cardboard shaker box. Naturally, clients can also opt for their own packaging.

A longer season
The refrigeration chain is guaranteed right from the time of harvesting and all through the transport process. Chilling the product as quickly as possible after picking is essential for the sake of long-term keeping properties. “Chilling delays the ripening process. Our intention is to lengthen the season. Optimising the storage of the unripe berries is another way to extend the sales period. Round about harvest time, the sold lots are ripened to perfection under controlled conditions. This means we are supplying the trade with a ready-to-eat product.”

Sensitive to ethylene
Because kiwiberries are so sensitive to ethylene, they demand a specific storage technique, which is an important point to be borne in mind when it comes to marketing. In the fruit section, the berries should be kept away from the likes of tomatoes, bananas and apples, which give off ethylene. The best way to speed up the ripening process is to put them near these products. If they are kept cool in the shop, 2 or 3 days of shelf life can still be guaranteed. A tip for the customer is that the berries become softer and a little darker when they are ripe.

An ideal little snack
What consumers are looking for is a healthy, tasty and handy snack. Kiwiberries fit the bill perfectly. Their shape, texture and skin make them into a superb soft fruit. They are not much bigger than grapes, with a wafer-thin skin, and are best eaten just as they are, but they can also be used to rustle up some lovely desserts and hearty dishes. Kiwiberries can hold their own against ordinary kiwis in terms of nutritional value and flavour, being rich in vitamin C (70 mg/100 g), as well as containing antioxidants, minerals and other healthy substances.

A lovely late-summer product
Put these exquisite soft fruits in the spotlight in the autumn. The shakers give the fruit section a fresh look and are very handy: a single portion to grab in the car, beside the computer, ready to dole out to hungry kids... samples can help persuade customers to try something a bit different: tasty kiwiberries 'made in Belgium'.

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